The Rights of Small Farmers

A posting from Heidi Chow, a campaigner for the Global Justice Now network.

5 December 2018

Key words: food sovereignty; small farmers; global agribusiness; La Vía Campesina.

For the last few years, we have mobilised to support the process for a UN declaration of rights for small farmers. And last week, a committee of the UN General Assembly voted in favour of the declaration.

This is a significant step for the global movement for food sovereignty as the UN declaration recognises the rights of small-scale food producers who feed the majority of the world’s population. Small farmers across the globe are facing mounting levels of violence, oppression and discrimination. Their livelihoods and communities are threatened by the expansion of global agribusiness, which is grabbing their land and seeds and destroying the environment they rely on for food production.

It’s taken around two decades of negotiation, advocacy and lobbying – spearheaded by our global allies, La Via Campesina (LVC) – to get to this point. Together, we have mobilised at key moments during this process in the last few years in solidarity with LVC.

This declaration will be an important tool for civil society to resist further agribusiness expansion and protect themselves against state repression. It’s a victory for farmers’ rights and a step in the right direction towards more powerful, binding rules which offer international protection for small farmers around the world.

The struggle against corporate power in the food system is not over but let’s take a moment to celebrate in solidarity with small farmers across the world for the milestones that we achieve together along the way.

The UN General Assembly plenary will formally ratify the declaration later this month